Dutch Jointer Plane dated 1777 32" long

Click for a Closer LookThe jointer plane is the longest plane in the family of bench planes. Due to its length, it is the most accurate of bench planes. Its purpose is to plane the edges of boards to a straight edge so that multiple boards can be glued together without gaps. It is also used for flattening table tops and planing longs boards flat. The length of the plane makes it possible to form a straight surface where a shorter plane would follow the dips and curves already in the wood. Planemaking became a distinct trade in the late 1600's and was industrialized in heavy production in the late 1800's. This fine example shows a particularly 18th century Dutch style where the plane was wonderfully carved. The blade is about 2 1/2" inches wide, a typical width for a long plane. Planes were usually made from beechwood, although many exotic species were used by shipwrights who made their own tools. Any hard stable wood works well, although changes in the weather can cause the wood sole to move and change the accuracy of the tool. The handle (or tote (US), or toat (UK)) is offset to aid the balance when right handed planing. In the next fifty years handles were centered and the decoration vanished. Exactly why planemakers took the time to decorate their planes at this time is unknown (though pride of craftsmanship and ownership undoubtedly played a part), but certainly the decoration is a refection of the original cost of the tools and the importance they held in the eyes of the joiners of the period. Another interesting point is that this tool has a single blade. It wasn’t until the next century that a cap iron was added to bench planes to break the wood shaving as it was formed and to reduce tearout in the wood. The blade on this plane is quite thick and didn't vibrate much. Later metal planes, such as the entire range of Bailey (Stanley) iron bench planes, had much thinner blades and the cap iron helped to dampen vibration. Get a closer view of the object (56K)

"The Joynter is made somewhat longer than the Fore-plane, and hath its Sole perfectly straight from end to end.. Its Office is to follow the Fore-plane, and to shoot an edge perfectly straight, and not only an edge, but also a Board of any thickness; especially when a Joynt is to be shot. Therefore the Hand must be carried along the whole length, with an equal bearing weight, and so exactly even, and upright to the edges of the Board, that neither side of the Plane encline either inwards or outwards, but that the whole breadth be exactly square on both its sides; supporting its sides straight: so will two edges of two Boards, when thus shot, lie so exactly flat and square upon one another, that light will not be discerned betwixt them."

Excerpt from "Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Hand-Works" by Joseph Moxon. 1994 Astragal Press reprint of the 1703 edition. The original spelling and syntax has been retained in this excerpt.

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